Dublin Theatre Festival

In association with Offshore International Cultural Projects Amsterdam

Les Danaides

Directed by Silviu Purcarete

Venue National Basketball Arena

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Most of Aeschlyus's 70 or so plays havwe been lost. This includes three of the four plays which would have made up one of his earliest works - Les Danaides. Buut the first play of the tetralogy, The Suppliants, has survived with his better-known masterpieces, The Persians, Premetheus and The Oresteia.

Even by the standards of Aeschylus's day, the complete work would have been an unforgettable specatvle. It is impossible to perform without two choruses of 50 women and 50 men and the protagonists. The story is simple: The 50 Danaides (daughters of Danaois), persued by the 50 sons of Egyptos (their own cousins), seek refuge on Argos. Though it is granted, the men hun them down and force them to marry. All but one of the sisters - who falls in love with her husband - plot to kill their husbands on the wedding night, thus beginning a terrible cycle of murderous revenge.

In 1993, under commission from the Holland, Vienna, Avignon Festivals and La Villette in Paris, Silviu Purcarete began work on a reconstruction of the story. Over 800 actors were auditioned for a place in the newly-created, fully independent Romanian theatre company. After four months of rehearsal, and an exhaustive schedule, the production has been seen by over 20,000 people in Bucharest, Craiova, Vienna, Amsterdam, Avignon, Rome and Paris.

Le Danaides is one of the largest international theatre productions to be staged in recent times, ranking with Stein's Oresteia, Julius Caesar and Brook's Mahabharata in its scale and special staging requirements. But like all of Purcarete's work, it is also a very intimate and beautiful production, combining a sense of antiquity with the inescapable realisties of modern-day Europe.

Purcarete is best known for his recent production of The Tempest for Nottingham Playhouse and Theatr Clwyd and the National Theater of Craiova's 1995 tour of Phaedra.

Supported by South Dublin County Council and the Embassy of France. International tour supported by AT&T Foundation New York and the Tofan Foundation Bucharest.


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